The Final Piece in the Puzzle: Why Joe Bryan is the Perfect Signing for Slavisa Jokanovic's Fulham

​Joe Bryan has joined newly promoted ​Fulham for £6m after a transfer saga with a number of twists and turns.

Bryan looked set to be joining ​Aston Villa in the eve of the transfer window deadline and had it is being suggested that he even signed a contract and posed for pictures in the club’s claret an blue. However, a bid from Fulham saw the left-back drop tools and head for London – with Steve Bruce reportedly chasing him down the motorway.

Whether or not these rumours are true, what we do know is that Fulham have bagged themselves a top player. Bryan has been a standout performer in the ​Championship for a number of seasons with ​Bristol City and it comes as no surprise to see him make the jump up to the Premier League.

But he’s more than just a decent signing. He is the final piece in the puzzle for Slavisa Jokanovic as he looks to secure Fulham’s ​Premier League safety.

Last season, wonder kid Ryan Sessegnon started off as Fulham’s first choice left-back and for good reason. He looked very comfortable in the position and was clearly very defensively astute, even at such a young age.

Fulham v Sampdoria - Pre-Season Friendly

However, he always looked threatening when bombing down the flanks and Jokanovic took it upon himself to push Sessegnon further forward to operate as a traditional left-winger, unburdened by any defensive responsibilities. It proved to be a master stroke.

The 18-year-old was imperious as Fulham earned promotion via the playoff, scoring 15 goals and providing six assists, which are remarkable statistics considering his age. There were even talks of the youngster breaking into Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad.

Aston Villa v Fulham - Sky Bet Championship Play Off Final

But until Fulham landed Bryan, no one knew who would be filling the previously vacant left-back role. The Cottagers haven’t been able to secure the signature of Southampton’s Matt Targett after his loan spell expired and the only sensible move would have been to move Sessegnon back to his previous position, but that would have seriously detrimental considering his obvious attacking talents.

There is now no need for Sessegnon to drop back, but what is positive is that Bryan isn’t a player who has been brought in solely to free up Sessegnon. He will also provide a lot for Fulham fans to get excited about.

During his time with his boyhood club Bristol City, he has undergone a transition from an attack minded winger to a traditional full-back, which is the opposite of the recent switch Sessegnon has undergone.

Manchester City v Bristol City - Carabao Cup Semi-Final: First Leg

He has a range of tools in his arsenal which will be on show this season. He’s quick, strong and assured on the ball and he has previously shown that he even has an eye for goal. ​Manchester United fans wont be forgetting his memorable strike in the quarter final of the League Cup any time soon.

That League Cup run also demonstrated that he is easily capable of mixing it with the big guns this season. He performed superbly throughout Bristol City’s journey to the semi-final run and never looked overawed by the prospect of facing up against five Premier League outfits – including both Manchester clubs.

On reflection, this summer has been an outstanding one for Fulham. They have retained Sessegnon, secured surprise deals for top talents such as Jean Michael Seri and Andre Schurrle, re-signed Aleksandar Mitrovic on a permanent basis and they now don’t have any obvious weaknesses in their side.

Fulham v Celta Vigo - Pre-Season Friendly

Staying up should be Fulham’s immediate target, but there is no reason why they can’t set their targets a little higher this season. Joe Bryan is the final piece in the puzzle that should see to that.

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